Some Monday morning fun for you, in the shape of some lesser-known proofreading marks…
While these are funny, I also noticed that many of them are actually really good points to remember when you are writing, such as:
“Characters should fight”
Yes, characters should fight! Even the characters in your story that like each other should probably fight at some point. If there isn’t tensions in your story that are causing rifts between people, than perhaps your story isn’t dramatic enough.
“Most editors say don’t use adverbs, but this is a damn good adverb!”
Yes, as Stephen King famously said, the road to hell is indeed paved with adverbs, but don’t forego them altogether. The worst thing about adverbs is that they are overused – but like anything they can be incredibly useful when used in moderation. Don’t be afraid to use a clear, bold adverb, as long as you feel like it’s adding to the story, and not just plugging up weak writing.
“Delete – no one cares!”
Search through your writing for passages like this, for I guarantee there will be some. You might find it interesting, but that’s because you wrote it. Be hard on yourself and ask, “is this part really necessary? Will my readers care?”
You’d think this incredibly flippant if you received it from your editor, but it’s so important.
Add adventure. Always. Because adventure is story, and story is the most important thing. If your characters aren’t on an adventure (grand or small) then your readers won’t go on an adventure either.